Auto Repair Problems and Bad Mechanics

Can't fix your car problem on your own? Ask a live mechanic!

auto repair mechanic
Auto Mechanic

You can find bad mechanics in the auto repair business just as easily as you can find good ones. This is no different than it would be for the plumbing business or any other skilled or professional trade. I thought I would take a minute to give my opinion on what separates the good and the bad when it comes to solving auto repair problems.

Two things prompted me to write this article. One I received an e-mail from a site visitor that was about a 1000 words that intimately described a bad experience they had with a particular shop and what they considered a group of bad mechanics.

The second thing is I work with a mechanic that is gaining a bad reputation even though he has about 20 years of experience and has certainly taught me a few tricks as I am heading into my 26th year of being a certified master technician. I work with 14 other mechanics and there is a lot of finger-pointing about who does the right thing and who does the wrong thing.

So that I am not singling out a particular person I am going to change the details of the car problem while keeping the integrity of the lesson to be learned. It is my hope that an example of  automobile diagnosis done wrong would help people seeking solutions to their own auto repair problems.

How bad mechanics handle auto repair problems

check engine light
Check Engine Light

In this instance when I say bad mechanics I really believe that it’s more accurate to say a lazy mechanic because I know for a fact this guy knows his stuff. The specific example is on a domestic truck that came in with the check engine light on.

The mechanic pulled a trouble code for an EGR malfunction. When he pulled up the online auto repair manual page that contained the diagnostic chart for the code there was a quick link to a technical service bulletin stating that the manufacturer had seen many EGR valve failures on this year, make and model truck?

Without even opening the hood or performing any additional diagnostics the mechanic ordered an EGR valve to solve this auto repair problem. The part arrived and he installed it then cleared the codes and took the vehicle for a ride. Within 2 miles the check engine light came back on and set the same code for an EGR malfunction. The mechanic approached me and stated that he had been having a run of bad luck lately and wondered if I could take a look? My first thought was, what does luck have to do with car repair? Curious I decided to give him a hand to see what the specific problem was.

On this particular vehicle there is a five volt reference signal sent from the computer to the electronic EGR valve. When I broke out my automotive meter and tested the wire that should have 5 Volts on it there was nothing. I checked the fuse and found no blown fuses. I started to trace the wiring harness back and found a section of the EGR wiring harness that had been chewed through by some type of critter.

Is this guy a bad mechanic?

auto repair problems
Auto Repair Problems

I believe the answer to this question is no; he has just gotten a little lazy. After we worked together and he saw my path of diagnosis he started banging his head against the truck. He kept saying over and over again that he “knows better” then to jump to conclusions when it comes to solving auto repair problems.

He further explained that if he didn’t see that technical service bulletin pointing out that many EGR’s had failed that he would’ve followed the same diagnostic steps that I had. When it comes to electrical and emission components they are usually nonrefundable. So although we fixed the problem with a minor wiring repair there was no returning the part itself.

I tell this story because we are all human and we can all get lazy, take shortcuts and make mistakes. But when it comes to getting your personal auto repair problems solved you want to make sure that your mechanic is taking the time to perform proper diagnosis by asking all the right questions.

If the shop states you have a bad sensor ask them what steps they took to diagnose it. Then ask them if they guarantee that the replacement of the part will solve that particular problem. Let the car repair shop know that you understand good and bad mechanics all make mistakes, but that you are not willing to pay for it.

Being an auto mechanic is not an easy job and I respect all that take the time to learn the profession. Not only is there a lot of time and money invested in the training but also the tools and equipment required to do the job properly. If you doubt what I say I have a previous article that talks about how to become a car mechanic. Or you can head back to this blogs main page for more auto repair information articles.

Can't fix your car problem on your own? Ask a live mechanic!

6 Replies to “Auto Repair Problems and Bad Mechanics”

  1. Car Repair Austin

    “Let the car repair shop know that you understand good and bad mechanics all make mistakes, but that you are not willing to pay for it.”

    I think you hit the nail on the head with that one. We’re all human and make mistakes, but a good mechanic can take responsibility and provide stellar customer service. Great advice. Thank you.

  2. John C.

    Interesting article. I am a mechanic and completely agree with you. At my shop, we try to set ourselves apart by going that extra mile and encouraging our customers to ask questions.

  3. pablo

    You leave out a key point in that many times the mechanic is under the gun with a flat rate on the repairs. He is not compensated for any extra effort so, yes, some will try to cut corners and jump to conclusions.
    All he was doing was playing the odds. Most times it is the component failing and not a wiring fault. This time he got burned on the diagnosis but in the long run, he will profit from his instant diagnosis.

  4. Linda Dhennin

    TIM KING, 4500 SR 19A, Mt. Dora, FL agreed to install a new starter that I had already bought then he put it in the backseat, installed his own starter and charged me almost double. I didn’t realize this until I left and saw the starter in the back and I examined the invoice more closely.

    He also charged me to ‘fix’ my transmission that drove 5 miles and quit! He refused to honor his work, would not take my phone calls, and left me hanging for days until I could arrange to have my car towed to a reputable repair shop. The primary reason for TIM KING to work on my car was the transmission.

    After talking to other knowledgeable mechanics, we concluded that TIM KING didn’t really know how to fix the transmission but wouldn’t admit it. When I was discussing the transmission with TIM KING he did not seem to follow the conversation and some of his responses were not what my current mechanic said which agreed with what my brother had told me (rebuilds classic cars the past 40 years and has several certifications).

    TIM KING had been recommended by several people in the area but I now discover that he had only done minor work or mechanical jobs and nothing that involved electronics regarding transmissions etc. Obviously just because someone calls themselves a mechanic and sets up a shop, even after 16 yrs, it doesn’t mean they can actually do the work or will be honest. Screen your mechanic well. Thank you.

  5. K.Steele

    The car doctor in lewiston mi. Bad place to go they take advantage of seniors. They double the prices. We checked other repair shops and prices are not high like car doctors are. He will never see my truck again I just want to save others from getting ripped off.

  6. Jo-Ann

    Do not ever use the services of Teddy’s Auto Repair Shop on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.
    Over priced thieves, and don’t even repair the problem. They call it process of elimination. They continue to bill you thousands until they locate the problem. they have no clue how to diagnose a problem. When done, you need to take out a loan to pay their bill. They say they work for all the cops in the neighborhood. Maybe they are being paid off!

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